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Privacy and Confidentiality Policy

The University Libraries of the University of Massachusetts Amherst are strongly committed to the American Library Association's ( ALA ) Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights ( The University Faculty Senate endorsed these principles on May 11, 2000, upon the recommendation of the Research Library Council.

The Principles underscores the Library's fundamental responsibility to protect our users' privacy and confidentiality as set forth in Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (

According to this Interpretation, "In a library (physical or virtual), the right to privacy is the right to inquiry without having the subject of one's interest examined or scrutinized. Confidentiality exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about users and keeps that information private on their behalf."

When library users recognize or fear that their privacy or confidentiality is compromised, true freedom of inquiry no longer exists. If libraries are to survive as centers for the free and uninhibited access to information so necessary to a democratic society, library staff must vigilantly guard their patrons' privacy and freedom of inquiry.

The University Libraries are committed to protecting each library user's privacy and confidentiality. It is the Library's hope that by doing so, the Library will earn each library user's trust and confidence.

UMass Amherst Libraries--April 7, 2003
Revised: April 27, 2005